Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Recap on Scotland - Kettlebells, Castles, & Camaraderie

What a trip!!!

I'm glad to be back home for a bit, and I'm looking forward to seeing my family this weekend, but what a GREAT trip this was to Scotland. What was essentially a few hours more than 4 days worth of time in Scotland turned out to be far more productive than I'd have ever imagined.

Wednesday evening - As blogged below, I spent the first few hours off the plane by teaching a basic level Combat Shuai-Chiao workshop to Krav Maga Edinburgh.

Thursday - Reviewed Level 1 RKC techniques with my outstanding host Rannoch Donald, RKC, introduced the Level 2 techniques, and then got the physio treatment (also as blogged below).

Friday - Reviewed more Level 1 fine points, and then continued with Level 2 again with Rannoch, then went off to interview Vadim Kolganov. Vadim is a rarity among folks. He's a high ranking Sambo practitioner, a spinal rehabilitation specialist who trained at the Valentin Dikul Institute (yes, the same paraplegic turned strongman Valentin Dikul that Pavel talks about all the time in his writings), and one of those rare individuals who is TRULY a good human being. Despite his skill, achievements, and depth of knowledge in many fields (including kettlebells), Koganov is deeply humble and highly analytical.

He knew of Pavel before I got there, did his homework, and already had both Enter the Kettlebell and Naked Warrior.

I'd already seen video of Kolganov doing kettlebells on Youtube, so I wondered if he might be quite set in his ways. Rannoch, however, was quite sure that Vadim was not the type to be so close-minded, and he was certainly correct.

Anyways, we did a somewhat impromptu photo shoot and interview for Black Belt Magazine, focused on his understanding of Sambo. Kolganov explained a LOT of very good detail to me, as I knew very little about Sambo. Our conversations covered Sambo history, development, tradition, and strategy. I also found out that the founder of R.O.S.S., General Alexander Retuinskih, is one of his teachers.

Saturday - Glasgow Workshop: A sold out appearance for the KBLA/KBS tagteam, and Vadim Kolganov showed up. Not only did Vadim participate as a student, but he also helped a couple of the absolute newbies as well. The Glaswegians did an amazing job with not only duplicating the technique, but also being able to demonstrate their understanding of the finer points. Any professor will tell you that you know how much the students are paying attention to what you're saying by what kind of questions your students ask, and the participants in the Glasgow seminar were absolutely dialed in.

The day finished with Vadim giving me my first pair of Sambo boots, a magazine, & DVDs and encouraging me to come back some time to train.

Sunday - Edinburgh Workshop: ANOTHER SOLD-OUT performance! :-) This was a good end to a busy few days. Edinburgh saw a packed house getting the same treatment as Glasgow... highly detailed information coupled with lots of practice and constant thinking.

The attendees were as varied as they were in Glasgow - young studs who were looking to make a name for themselves in NHB fighting, trainers, physiotherapists, athletes, and retired folks who were simply looking to stay in shape. Both workshops had instructors under Guro Inosanto, and both had fighters. The Edinburgh workshop was graced by a professional British boxer who was perhaps the most intent on improving his form and developing his technique. I was surprised how many people came up to Scotland from England on both days.

After the workshop, Vadim came over to Rannoch's house for a second interview, and brought another slew of gifts - a calendar poster of his teacher, a Russian doll, several more Sambo DVDs, a Russian Imperial Eagle hatpin, a SCOTROSS pin, a Russian bear sculpture, and a bottle of REAL Russian vodka. The writing on the bottle's completely in Cyrillic, so I have no doubt that it's gooooood stuff.

We talked extensively about his feelings about kettlebells, about the Hard Style RKC system, and orthopedic medicine. With Kolganov's background as a spinal rehab specialist trained at the world-famous Valentin Dikul Institute, he had a bag of modalities VERY similar to my own Tui-Na. He told me that he was inspired to look more closely at kettlebells as rehabilitative tools after my seminar, recalling the many feats that Dikul used to do with kettlebells.

For those of you who are dying to get to an RKC post haste, you're in luck. The May RKC in Copenhagen, Denmark is still not yet sold out, and Vadim Kolganov himself has now enrolled. If you want to train HARD STYLE in the land of the Vikings and meet a serious Soviet badass, then REGISTER NOW!

After a great Sunday workshop, a long shower, and a short nap, I woke up early to have Rannoch see me off at EDI, as I began the multi-legged journey home (EDI to London-Gatwick, to Dallas-Fort Worth, and finally to LAX).

Just a little over a week, and I'll be back in the air... This time to Auckland, New Zealand, where Mike Capper, RKC, is preparing a blockbuster workshop. If you're going to be in NZ or have friends in Australia or New Zealand, please send them to THIS page!

Looking forward to seeing you all in the VERY near future, wherever you are in the world!


CrossFitCS said...

It was great to meet you on Sunday in Edinburgh, Mark.

Hopefully meet you again the next time you come over


Daniel Webb said...

Hi Mark, very nice to meet you in Glasgow. I enjoyed doing the photography and hope you liked the images.



Dr. Mark Cheng said...

Davie, I look forward to working with you again in a few months! Rannoch and I have more fun planned and more high detail stuff for those of you who attended these last workshops.

Daniel, your eye is really amazing. I look forward to seeing the rest of the shots from that afternoon. Having seen your work from Saturday, I can tell that having you on Friday would've been absolutely brilliant.

Mark Reifkind said...

Wow what a great sounding trip and what an excellent report. I can't wait to see you in Denmark Mark and hear even more details. It will be great to meet Vadim as well. ANd now New Zealand, what a busy guy you are!

Dr. Mark Cheng said...

Rif, don't think "busy". Think of how much green I'll be bleeding in Denmark. You know how expensive everything is there, and I wasn't originally asked to attend as a TL. This Denmark trip is gonna be a little "ouchy" to the wallet, but well worth it in the long run.

No matter what, I always learn something valuable at every RKC, every time I see Pavel, and every time I hook up with the Sr RKCs & MRKCs.

Boris said...

Wow Doc! Great stuff and, as always, jealous of your students.

Franz Snideman said...

Right on Mark! Things are popping like popcorn for you! I am proud of you!

Keep up the incredible momentum!!!

Dr. Mark Cheng said...

Franz, thanks again for your kind words. I'll do my best to keep evolving and improving. Hopefully someday I'll be really worthy of those kind things that Yoana said.

Rannoch Donald RKC said...

You think that was fun...wait til you see what happens next!

Anyone care yo join us for some KB fun!?!


Franz Snideman said...


you already have lived up to those words...and will continue to surpass them!

Rock on!